• Overview

    Since 2007, the Ohio Workforce Coalition brings together leaders from education and training institutions, economic and workforce development organizations, business and industry, labor, and human service providers. The Coalition promotes public policies that build the skills of adult workers, meet employer skill needs, and strengthen the workforce system to ensure opportunity and prosperity for Ohio families.
  • March 2015
    M T W T F S S
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OWC Applauds Eric Seleznow’s USDOL Appointment

After three years as state policy director for the National Skills Coalition (NSC), Eric Seleznow has accepted an appointment as deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Employment & Training Administration (ETA). Eric brings with him over 30 years of experience in the workforce development field.

“On behalf of the Ohio Workforce Coalition (OWC), we congratulate Eric on his appointment. Many of OWC’s Leadership Committee has had the privilege of working with Eric over the past several years on the promotion of state policies focused on the development of sector partnerships and career pathways. We know the tremendous workforce development knowledge and experience he will bring to USDOL ETA leadership will only strengthen the workforce system across the nation.” said Kerrie Carte, chair of the Ohio Workforce Coalition.

During his tenure in Maryland, Eric worked closely with Governor O’Malley in the launch of Skills2Compete-Maryland (S2C-MD), one of the first efforts to assess how many people are being trained for skilled credentials across the entirety of a state’s public workforce, education and human service programs. Eric continued this effort at NSC by working with a number of states to replicate some of the lessons learned from implementing Maryland’s cross-agency credential measurement.

Eric first became involved with NSC when he joined as an original member of NSC’s Leadership Council in 2008. In 2010, Eric joined the NSC staff as state policy director where he worked with a number of state administrators, legislators and other stakeholders to better align workforce and education policies.

Prior to his work with Maryland and at NSC, Eric accumulated over twenty-five years of experience in the workforce field, including as director of workforce services for the Montgomery County (MD) Department of Economic Development, and within the corrections system running jail-based training, employment, and pre-release programs.

Congratulations Eric!!! OWC looks forward to continuing our work together to build a skilled workforce and meet the needs of employers.

OWC GWIB Sector Announcement

Industry Sector Partnerships to Serve as Cornerstone of Workforce Policy in Ohio

At the June 11 meeting of the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board, the Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) presented a proposal to adopt sector partnerships as the underpinning of workforce development policy in Ohio. Defining sector partnerships as partnerships of employers within one industry that bring government, education and training, economic and workforce development, labor, and community organizations together to focus on the workforce needs of an industry within a region or statewide labor market, OWT plans to:

● Identify and support priority sector partnerships in in-demand industries by engaging GWIB Members in industry outreach, providing convening support through partner state agencies, providing access to detailed labor market data and creating industry-specific Sector Partnership Tool Kits; and

● Providing labor market data and a basic toolkit for sector partnerships in all other industries not deemed “priority”.
The expectation is that sector strategy language will be gradually embedded in all relevant grants, formula programs and new statewide initiatives. Using this industry-led strategy, OWT is also hoping to create and/or revise occupation-specific curriculum, increase incumbent worker training, internships and co-op opportunities in targeted areas, and to identify mechanisms to better expose youth to in-demand careers.

The Ohio Workforce Coalition has long worked to elevate sector strategies in workforce policy and funding discussions, and would like to commend Governor Kasich, the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board and the Office of Workforce Transformation on this groundbreaking new direction. Adopting sector strategies and targeting in-demand industries will help the state to make the most of current and future workforce investments, benefitting Ohio’s workers and businesses alike.

522 members of the Ohio Workforce Coalition, and its leadership council, look forward to working with the Administration on implementing next steps.
OWT Sector Partnership.pdf

Support Investments for Building Regional Industry Sector Partnerships!

Support Investments for Building Regional Industry Sector Partnerships!

The Ohio Workforce Coalition Leadership Committee requests your endorsement of a policy
proposal to create regional industry sector partnerships throughout the state to close skills gaps
in key industries and put Ohioans back to work into well-paying jobs. The Regional Industry
Sector Partnerships Grant Program would fund regional consortia’ of employers, Workforce Investment Boards, chambers of commerce, labor and industry associations, economic development agencies, community colleges, adult education providers, and other partners to provide demand-driven training that addresses acute skills shortages hampering the growth of Ohio’s targeted industries.

Endorse Now! http://www.wsos.org/endorsement/

Moving Ohio Forward

Ohio has made significant job gains since the official end of the 2007-09 recession. Unemployment is down nearly 4% and the state has netted more than 140,000 jobs. Even with these gains though, too many Ohioans, nearly 400,000 in November, are still looking for work.

But for all this good news, employers from across the state report difficulty in finding qualified applicants for open positions, and real median wages continue to fall, dropping more than 45 cents in the last calendar year alone. In 2011, Ohio was tied with Maine for median wages–trailing 28 other states. Ohio employers and workers deserve a better system.

An Opportunity to Invest in Ohio’s Workers and Industries

Ohio should invest in the Ohio Workforce Coalition’s recommendation to fund regional sector partnerships to ensure Ohio’s employers have the skilled worker pipeline they need to compete and grow, and Ohioans have the skills they need for in-demand jobs. The Regional Industry Sector Partnerships Grant Fund ($10 million over the 2014-2015 biennial budget) would support up to 30 industry sector partnerships through a competitive grant process, ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 per year for two years. Funds would support regional consortia in the development and implementation of employer and worker responsive training for priority industries in their regions. In two years, this program would train more than 10,000 Ohioans for in-demand jobs and help at least 750 employers meet their workforce needs. Long term, this program would create regional capacity to efficiently coordinate and target Ohio’s workforce programs to meet the needs of key industries.

Read More – http://ohiowfc.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/ohio-sector-stategy-proposal.pdf

Please Endorse Now! http://www.wsos.org/endorsement/

Thank you for your continued commitment to promoting policies that build the skills of Ohio’s workforce, meet the needs of employers, and strengthen our workforce system.

Appointment of a new Executive Director for the Governor’s OWT

Appointment of a new Executive Director for the Governor’s OWT Beth Hansen, Chief of Staff – 12/7/2012

The governor has named his former Cabinet Secretary, Tracy Intihar, to lead the Office of Workforce Transformation and oversee efforts to better align Ohio’s fragmented workforce training system with the needs of workers and job creators. Tracy has more than 19 years of Ohio public policy experience, having served in senior positions for two Speakers of the Ohio House as well as managing her own policy consulting business.

Tracy will work closely with the newly-appointed members of the Governor’s Executive Workforce Advisory Board, with whom the governor met last week for the group’s inaugural meeting. Chaired by central Ohio business leader Blane Walter, the 26-member Board is comprised of knowledgeable leaders from business, community organization and education who will serve as active counselors to the governor and his team, as well as ambassadors. At the meeting, the board developed an action plan that included opening formal communication between the Board and the 20 Local Workforce Investment Board Chairs; establishing a statewide rebranding effort for all One-Stop offices consistent with the OhioMeansJobs brand; developing a consistent, system-wide policy for Individual Training Accounts; and, advancing a plan to use OhioMeansJobs as Ohio’s job-matching tool.

Among the objectives that the governor will continue to pursue through the leadership of the Board and Tracy are:

* Streamlining and improving coordination of Ohio’s current
fragmented workforce development system in which 90 programs across 13 agencies to better focus limited resources on the strategies that provide the greatest possible economic opportunities to Ohioans; * Creating performance measures and a data collection system to ensure program effectiveness;
* Working with job creators to determine what skills and workers they need to ensure that training programs exist across the full spectrum of Ohio’s education system to meet those needs.
* Connecting workforce with the education community is also a priority. Not only will our education programs be critical in training the workforce, but by implementing a new focus on Career Connections, K-12 schools can help students understand the opportunities ahead and how to achieve them.

A quality workforce is critical to job growth and the success of Ohio. As a stakeholder and partner in Ohio’s workforce development efforts, understanding your needs, ideas and feedback are critical to Ohio’s efforts to successfully transforming its workforce development program from one of paralysis and stagnation into one that effectively meets the needs of workers and job creators. With your support, Tracy’s strong and accomplished background will provide the leadership necessary to make Ohio a national leader in innovative, effective and efficient workforce training. The governor appreciates the important role you play in this work.

Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies – EID Ohio


Utica Shale Workforce Development Summit Convenes In Zanesville Monday, December 3rd, 2012 – Energy In Depth, the Ohio Project

Last week, the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies hosted a Utica Shale Workforce Development Summit to help communities prepare their workforce for the expanding oil and natural gas industry. The Summit was organized by former Congressman Zack Space, and brought together elected officials, educational institutions, economic development specialists,
county agencies and industry to craft a blueprint for
collaborative-community efforts as the Utica Shale begins to expand in scope, and in opportunity.

The event, held at Ohio University’s and Zane State College’s Student Center in Zanesville, drew nearly 100 attendees, and was the first-of-its-kind planning session for the area. It brought together leaders and experts on a variety of different facets to help provide guidance as to how best approach the new, exciting opportunities coming forward as we begin to increase the state’s shale development. Each table was evenly divided with representatives from different backgrounds in order to best approach growing areas of interests and concerns with developing our communities and workforce.

Before each table could begin the process of identifying the best strategies for eastern Ohio to move forward, the attendees were treated with presentations from Charlie Dixon of Ohio Oil and Gas Energy and Education Program (OOGEEP), Dave Mustine of JobsOhio and David Wilhelm, founder of Ohio Appalachia Business Council. Each presenter gave their outlook and
interpretation of the importance of the Utica Shale to the region.

Charlie Dixon provided the audience with an overview of the oil and gas industry in Ohio, while detailing the impressive work the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program has done over the years in helping educate and provide expertise in developing programs that will ensure Ohioans are ready to for the new jobs created by Ohio’s oil and gas industry.

One stunning number that Mr. Dixon pointed out is the numbers of diesel mechanics positions that are currently open within a 200 mile radius of Zanesville.

“I went online this morning to tidy up my presentation. 156 positions open within a 200 mile radius for diesel mechanics that is out there today”.- Charlie Dixon

That statement really got people in the crowd thinking about the magnitude of shale development – and the opportunities that it presents.

Following Mr. Dixon’s insightful presentation, David Mustine, JobsOhio Managing Director specializing in the energy, chemicals and polymer sectors, provided the audience a Utica Shale update happening around Ohio. Mr. Mustine has an extensive background in the energy industry including 16 years with American Electric Power and 10 years in the oil and gas industry.
During his presentation Mr. Mustine pointed out to the crowd that the Utica now has as much activity as our counterparts in West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.

“According to Baker Hughes, we have 26 triple stacked rigs operating in the state. I’ve noted that now we’re kind of caught up with West Virginia and a couple weeks ago we had one more then they did and I think that pretty significant that we are getting to that level”.- David Mustine, JobsOhio

Mr. Mustine is correct that Ohio is now getting to that level. In over the past year, Ohio’s rig count has doubled showing the increasing interest in the Utica. Mr. Mustine continued to provide a promising update which noted the continuous investments midstream and downstream companies continue to make in Eastern Ohio.

Following Mr. Mustine, David Wilhelm gave the audience some items to think about as they were about to gather in their groups and brainstorm about the future. Mr. Wilhelm gave the audience a history lesson about eastern Ohio’s industries that made us into what we are today like pottery, coal and steel. But he also pointed out their faults and how this time we can get it right with shale development.

“So here we have a new opportunity in the history of this region, brought about by the extraordinary discovery of Utica Shale deposits. There is nobody that is a bigger asset-based economic development person than myself. I believe in asset-based economic development. I believe in building on your own indigenous resources, your own indigenous talents. And one of the assets we have to build on, god bless us, is this extraordinary oil and gas resource”. – David Wilhelm

Mr. Wilhelm provided a great message to the attendees before breaking out to their brainstorming session; Eastern Ohio needs to take this great opportunity and use it to their best advantage, whether it be used to attract chemical and plastic manufactures thanks to the feedstock provided by the liquids rich component of the Utica Shale, or investing the revenue communities gain from development into much needed infrastructure to attract new businesses.

“Eastern Ohio has a chance to get it right”.

After the presenters finished educating the audience, it was the audience’s turn to take what they learned and work to provide a template that can help shape eastern Ohio’s approach to properly developing our workforce and communities. Each table was given a set of note cards and was asked to address significant opportunities and issues opportunities. Following the acknowledgment of such topics, each group was then asked to help provide a solution to each of these topics until each table had their own separate ideas mapped out for the moderators.

After a full afternoon of brainstorming and problem solving, each group presented their board of findings to the moderator who will compile the data and distribute it back to the group in a couple of months. This data will provide the beginnings of a plan that will help provide eastern Ohio communities with a roadmap for the workforce and community development needs.

Once this is made available, the summit will reconvene and continue to tackle this opportunities and issues head on.

Congressman Space and the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies should be recognized and applauded for their efforts to help eastern Ohio prepare for future shale development. As the summit progresses and guidelines are prepared, communities and educational programs will be poised and focused on the proper way to embrace the new opportunities provided to the region.


Towards Employment’s WorkAdvance program, a national pilot in Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio, designed to test promising workforce programs that employ sector-focused and skills building strategies, won the Excellence in Workforce Development Innovation Award from the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA).

This OEDA award recognizes unique approaches to any aspect of workforce development and recognizes a person or organization that has developed innovative practices and programs. It was awarded on Thursday, October 25, at an awards luncheon, in conjunction with OEDA’s annual summit held in Columbus, Ohio.

With support from the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF), WorkAdvance is a model being replicated at four sites across the country to train, place and help boost earnings of low-wage and unemployed adults in the growing fields of healthcare and manufacturing with room for career advancement. Towards Employment is the lead agency to implement WorkAdvance in Northeast Ohio and is working with Compass Family & Community Services to deliver the program in Youngstown, with significant regional investments from the Fund For Our Economic Future. Towards Employment has built a network of partners to provide dual economic benefits—helping individuals compete for, retain and advance in middle skill jobs, while at the same time providing employers with screened and qualified workers. WorkAdvance collaborates with employer partners to inform curriculum and suggest preferred training sources and provides services which include: contextualized job-readiness and literacy training, career coaching, technical skill training and credentials, and ongoing case management support.

Since the program’s inception in 2010, WorkAdvance has enrolled nearly 145 Northeast Ohioans in technical skills training such as machining, welding, medical office foundations, and State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) PLUS. Over 90 participants are working with an average starting wage of nearly $10 an hour. “WorkAdvance offers a continuum of services that are uniquely packaged and responsive to the skills training needs of local employers,” said Rebecca Kusner, director, WorkAdvance, “By customizing our services we are able to best respond to both participant and employer demand.”
Training partners include: Choffin Career & Technical Center, Cleveland Industrial Training Center, Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, Lincoln Electric School of Welding, Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, Trumbull Career and Technical Center, and three community
colleges—Cuyahoga Community College, Lakeland Community College and Lorain Community College.

WorkAdvance is one of five promising anti-poverty programs being replicated in New York City and seven partner cities, as part of the SIF grant awarded to The Mayor’s Center for Economic Opportunity and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC. Announced by the White House in 2010, the SIF is a public-private partnership administered by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service that is designed to scale-up effective programs.

WorkAdvance builds on evidence from successful workforce programs piloted in New York and other cities. This rigorously evaluated program will contribute to a developing body of evidence for systems change so that lessons learned can benefit more people and industries. The bottom line is that WorkAdvance is testing a formula for building talent pipelines for employers—demonstrating that low-income job seekers can be a good source of labor with the proper investments and training, as well as looking at how to change the way we leverage existing services and funding to better support job seekers and employers.

Partners helping to make this model a success include: Employment Connection, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), Mahoning Columbiana Training Association, NEO HealthForce, Northeast Ohio Health Science & Innovation Coalition (NOHSIC), The Business Resource Network, The Center for Health Affairs, The Centers For Families and Children, The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland, and WIRE-Net. The program is accepting enrollees: contact 216-696-7311,
ccinfo@waneo.org, http://www.waneo.org. Employers interested to partner with Work Advance: contact Rebecca Kusner, 216-696-5750 ext. 230.

About Towards Employment
Since 1976, Towards Employment, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through employment, has served more than 120,000 low-income and disadvantaged adults in Greater Cleveland—to help them prepare for jobs, get jobs, keep jobs and ascend the career ladder. Through holistic programming and strong employer partnerships Towards Employment builds individual skills and confidence, removes barriers to employment and helps individuals meet employers’ workforce needs. http://www.towardsemployment.org,

Two OWC Members Join NSC’s Leadership Council

Ross Meyer – Partners for a Competitive Workforce, and Kerrie Carte -WSOS Community Action Commission, Inc. will represent Ohio on the National Skills Coalition’s Leadership Council for the remainder of 2012 and 2013.

The National Skills Coalition advocates on public policies according to a set of jointly-held priorities developed across the Coalition’s multi-stakeholder membership of community-based organizations, community colleges, labor unions and affiliates, employers and business associations, and representatives of state / local workforce and higher education systems.

In 2009, to ensure the Coalition’s positions and strategies remained consistent with the perspectives across its diverse network, NSC’s Board of Directors created a rotating Leadership Council of the organization’s most active members to serve as the programmatic advisory body to NSC’s staff and board. The Council continues to vet new policy positions taken by the Coalition, and helps to lead the organizing, communications and advocacy strategies developed to advance that agenda. The Council also helps the staff and board think about how to grow the presence and effectiveness of the National Skills Coalition at both the state and federal levels.

The Leadership Council is a rotating body of approximately 60 leaders, representing workforce and education stakeholder groups from states throughout the country, who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to NSC’s skills agenda. The Council serves as:
● A sounding board for policy positions and organizing strategies taken on by NSC at both the federal and state levels;
● An advisory body for NSC’s Board of Directors, which has been charged with ensuring that NSC’s day‐to‐day work is consistent with its
founding mission; and
● A leadership development opportunity for standout NSC members who have not had a chance to weigh in on the Coalition’s work and direction as an organization.

Congratulations to Ross and Kerrie!
For more information on the National Skills Coalition and to become a supporting member, please visit http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org


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